View Full Version : PSC OMS vs Lawyer

06-03-2009, 05:21 PM
Hi all, I have been offered a PSC OMS to Stanford, and also a place to read law at Cambridge. My family can afford Cambridge, so money is not an issue here.

I'm in a dilemma here, but don't have enough information to make a confident choice. If I go into law, I'll most probably enter private practice to be a corporate litigator. But I'm not exactly sure what corporate litigators do day-to-day.

My heart tells me to go into public service and take up PSC, but I'm worried about not making it to the Admin Service.

So my questions are:

1) What does a corporate litigator do in his work?
2) What does a law firm partner do? I'm aware that being a partner means meeting clients and helping to run the business of the law firm, but how much of his or her time and effort is devoted to each aspect of the job?
3) Generally, are lawyers or PSC scholars happier with their jobs? What are the negative aspects of the respective jobs?
4) For PSC scholars who eventually fail to qualify for the Admin Service, what do they do? How many choose to stay on in the civil service, and for those who don't, what kind of second careers do they go into?

Thank you for your help! I haven't much time left to make up my mind, so I hope to do that soon.

06-03-2009, 10:08 PM
My heart tells me to go into public service and take up PSC, but I'm worried about not making it to the Admin Service.

It sounds as if you have already made up your mind, and the only reason holding you back from taking the PSC scholarship is your fear of failing to be emplaced in the Admin Service. I dare say that you also fear that this would curtail your career progression as compared to being your own boss as a lawyer.

This is not necessarily the case. People are generally happier in whatever line of work interests them, and over the long-run, interest also determines performance. If you are more interested in public service, there is every likelihood that you will do better there than as a lawyer, whether or not you are one of the small minority of PSC scholars eventually emplaced in the Admin Service.

Ultimately, all this is conjecture. You haven't even tested the waters yet. Don't give up your dream just because it looks too risky.

06-03-2009, 10:38 PM
Yeah, you're probably right. How small is the minority of PSC scholars who eventually make it to the Admin Service?

I hope fellow forummers could also help me with the questions I have; I'm still in the midst of making my decision and it would help me greatly.

06-03-2009, 11:14 PM
As at 31 December 2008, there were 247 Administrative Officers and 208 Management Associates, or 455 in total.


Given ~250 spots in the AS, and a rough estimate of AOs to be between 25 and 50 in age (ballpark figures), then there are only ~10 AOs for every year.

Given also that there are ~50 OMS every year, I hazard a guess that only ~20% of them get absorbed into the AS.

Update: Figures may be wrong, see thread on scholars vs. non-scholars.

not bright enough
06-11-2009, 09:39 PM
If your family can afford it, then why bother to take up a scholarship?

Not taking up the scholarship would give you more choices.

If you really want to join the public sector later on, you can always apply. With a law degree from Cambridge, your chances of joining the Legal Service is very high even if you're not a PSC scholar.

Anyway, what is your passion? Law? Or something else? (What will you studying at Stanford if you took up the PSC OMS?)